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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

SOCIAL    COHESION   AND    GOVERNMENT
nominally democracy, the part which one citizen
can obtain in controlling policy is usually infinitesi-
mal. Is it not perhaps better in such circumstances
to forget public affairs and get as much enjoyment
by the way as the times permit?" I find such letters
very difficult to answer, and I am sure that the state
of mind which leads to their being written is very
inimical to a healthy social life. As a result of mere
size, government becomes increasingly remote from
the governed and tends, even in a democracy, to
have an independent life of its own. I do not profess
to know how to cure this evil completely, but I think
it is important to recognize its existence and to
search for ways of diminishing its magnitude.
The instinctive mechanism of social cohesion,
namely loyalty to a small tribe whose members are
all known to each other, is something very remote
indeed from the kind of loyalty to a large State
which has replaced it in the modern world, and even
what remains of the more primitive kind of loyalty
is likely to disappear in the new organization of the
world that present dangers call for. An Englishman
or a Scotsman can feel an instinctive loyalty to
Britain: he may know what Shakespeare has to say
about it; he knows that it is an island with boundaries
that are wholly natural; he is aware of English history,
in so far, at least, as it is glorious, and he knows that
people on the Continent speak foreign languages.
But if loyalty to Britain is to be replaced by loyalty
to Western Union, there will need to be a conscious-
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